Nasera Sharma: Identifying characters of her stories in Shaheen Bagh

Nasera Sharma

Translated and presented by: Rajni Chhabra

When an author reaches a mass campaign in search of characters of his/her stories, it can be very well guessed that campaign of Shaheen Bagh is touching astonishing heights.

One such, famous novelist and story writer Nasera Sharma approached Shaheen Bagh and identified in females and youths in that mass gathering, characters of her own stories, in diverse forms. After returning from her visit, she penned some of them on paper. Photographs of visits of Nasera Sharma were viral on social media that very night.

Rajni Chhabra
Nasera Sharma is the bold writer who reached Iran during Islamic Revolution there. It was for the first time that Founder of this Revolution Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Khomeini, after coming in power, gave his first interview to any journalist and writer and this interview by Nasera Sharma was published in literary journal ‘Sarika’ very popular magazine in 1982. Nasera Sharma pursued her studies in JNU and had a brief teaching career in Jamia Milia Islamia.

Hereby, I am presenting before intellectual readers my English Version of her write up, which can be also deemed as her effort to perceive the Campaign from viewpoint of a writer.


That night in Shaheen Bagh proved to be a night of feeling, instead of being a night for expressing myself. I did not deliver any speech from dais, did not broadcast or vocalize my thoughts. As if, Foundation of Jamia Milia Islamia, date of Movement for Independence and those years of my teaching career were repeating themselves. All those episodes and memories started radiating like pearls, emerging out of closed sea- shells of my mind.

 Present was confronting me. For a long time, I was lost trying to co ordinate between past and present. I was lacking in verbal communication; heart and mind were entangled in whirlpool of sentiments.

Abruptly, world of my feelings demanded from me, “Are you not recognizing ? They are not strangers; they are characters of your stories. Your very own, for whom you had woven dreams of today. And, Lo! I was able to break the ice.

A smile diffused on my face. I heaved a sigh of relief, as if nobody was a stranger to me any more. When, I glanced at the boundary wall, meant  to accommodate males, behind the circle meant for seating for females, in every face, I caught a glimpse of ‘Rehaan’ of ‘Sarhad Ke Is Paar’, who deems partition as a curse.

Farida of ‘Pathar Gali’, Humera of ‘Taboot’, Mahrukh of ‘Theekre kee Mangani’ had aged and were now sitting here in form of Asmaan Khatoon, Bilkis Beghum and Serwari. I glanced further and visualized ‘Sheesh Mahal kee Chaar Behane’, middle aged now, who had raised guns in their hands, that were lying hidden in ornate baskets for keeping bangles and with same attitude and self confidence are insisting on Constitution.

Tender aged boys and girls, who were sitting silently and were listening keenly to the speech from stage, seemed to me reflection of their grandparents, who had witnessed second upturning. They reminded me Sabina, that innocent character of story Ali Baba and Chalis Chor, who erases all the marks of census, thinking that these have been marked by Forty Thieves. She makes up her mind that like Marzeena, she has to save all from thieves.

Young nursing mothers were sitting, holding infants in their lap. Some young girls passed in front of me; out of them one I could co relate with’ Ferzana’of  Khuda kee Wapsee”, who was telling them “ In my fit of fury, I had all inclination to clip off beard of that ignorant Mullah, but you all have taken a fascinating step and negated his existence.।’

“Had no other option left with us. We would have stepped back to another century, if kept on following them.”

‘It is better to read and decipher law for ourselves and fight for our rights, instead of listening it from other. O! My dear sister, our mother, maternal grandmother and paternal grandmother did the same. And now, without any leader, we are our own guides.

I recalled, I had written somewhere, “A person is born twice. First time from womb of mother and second time from adversities of circumstances”.
Today, I realized that when a person is confronted with both, life and death, he longs for life.

That night passed.

With the advent of dawn, the whole ambience has changed.

Who could ever stop Shaheen Bird (White Falcon) from flying high? So how can be it stopped now? Shaheen kept on flying above Mohallas and cities, motivating people to fly high. Even if we have apprehension that we are moving ahead towards danger, the dominating spirit in us ushers what difference does it make if we are moving towards danger or danger is moving towards us? All the characters, co-existing in  Indian Culture were once again in front of my eyes, whether it be Veer Ji of ‘Aamokhata’or Savita of ‘Insaani Nasal’or kite maker of ‘Chand Taare ke Shatranj’ or Groundnut seller of ‘Uska Ladhka’ or Beaurocrat Shalmali of ‘Shalmali’ or Murlee of ‘Akshyvat’ or else Dr. Kammal of ‘kuiyaanjaan’ or Post-Graduate Sidharth of ‘Zero Road’ facing pang of unemployment or Prof. Prahlad Dutt of‘Parijaat’or be it Immamudin of ‘Zinda Muhawara’ who preferred staying in his own country instead of migrating to newly created country after partition.  All of them are uniting, longing for freedom. Walking together hand in hand, raising voice in unison.

This is the infrastructure of our Indian society, that can not be shattered whosoever might try.
Because, all of us have realized that we cannot live without one another and cannot thrive without one another. This is our identity; this is our sanctity: this is our Constitution.

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